Welcome to a brand new season of Road to Seven!
We’re starting 2020 off with a VERY timely topic – procrastination and perfectionism. In fact, I actually have been procrastinating this very episode! I really wanted to get it right and so I kept pushing the deadline further and further away. Tune in or read on to hear me get vulnerable, how to overcome procrastination, and how to deal with perfectionism in a way that works!
I gotta be honest with you. I’ve been putting off recording this podcast for about four weeks. Every single time I start, or I think “Yep, okay, I’m going to record the podcast” then something else always seems to come out and trump that time, it takes it over. So then I sit there and I tell myself, “Shelagh, what’s going on?”
“I’m too busy. I can’t record the podcast, I don’t have a good chunk of time. I don’t have enough time to really get my head around it.” So I push it off, and I push it off again. Then it never seems to happen. I don’t know about you. But those of you who are coaches, I don’t know if you notice that sometimes there are patterns that emerge around your clients. I’ve also noticed that sometimes those patterns are mirrored in my own behaviour. Something that’s been coming up with my clients and I’ve spoken about it in all three of my momentum groups – it was this whole idea of “I never seem to have enough time to create the content that I know I need to create.” I keep procrastinating it. So through the three groups, I facilitated the conversation about it.
We talked about it. We decided, “yep, we actually do have the time we’re choosing not to do it.” For a whole variety of reasons. There are always reasons that come up and we mask these excuses as facts. I’m not disagreeing that you have a busy life and that other things have taken priority. What I want you to see is that pushing off creating content is a form of procrastination, and procrastination is simply one of the crutches that we use to keep us safe. We push things off to the last minute and then we justify it by claiming that you know we are the most productive when we’re under pressure.
Active procrastination is deliberately delaying getting started on something so you can focus on other urgent tasks that can make you feel challenged and motivated to then get things done. Now, this strategy works particularly well if you’re someone who thrives under pressure, but let’s understand the motivation behind procrastination. Procrastination is actually a defence mechanism. It’s your unconscious mind thinking that it’s helping you. Between you and me, it’s a little bit misguided.
The procrastinators’ mind uses a defence mechanism to kind of forget about the task. Meaning there are so many other things that I need to do. What that does is play a trick on us. The reason we push things off is usually when we fear or dread or having anxiety about the result of the important task that is ahead of you. That’s why when you have an important speech, you write it the night before because by that point, your back is up against the wall and you have no choice but to write the speech. You have no choice but to push through the fear and do it anyway, and so why did I put off this procrastination? I’ve been thinking about it, and it’s pretty straightforward.
The story I keep telling myself is, what if it’s not good enough? What if I say something wrong? I can’t formulate a really thought-provoking sentence. I’m not as good as *insert every other podcasters name.* What if I sound like I’m rambling? What if I never get to the point and people never listen to me again? What if I put it out? And nobody listens to it? Or what if I put it out and it goes viral? Because I did something stupid in it. I mean, this is the kind of stuff that we tell ourselves subconsciously, and we don’t even notice what we’re doing.
The reality is, have I had a busy last couple of weeks? Absolutely, and so have you. Have I had time to record this podcast? I probably did. So how do I get through the procrastination this time? How did I push through that fear of the results of putting out a new podcast? At the end of the day, you have full control over how you spend your time based on the choices that you make.
So I know that you’re busy. I know that I’m busy. I know that it’s hard to carve out time, but there’s always got to be a priority. So what did I say no to, be able to record this? I said no to getting caught up on my Facebook notifications. I said no to scrolling aimlessly. I said no to putting my clean laundry away. I chose to prioritize this task and be okay with the results.
We procrastinate everywhere. We do it in all different aspects of our life. “I’m going to start the diet on Monday. I’m going to make amends with you Whomever next month, I’m going to wait until you know, the week before to do this big project. I didn’t get my proposal out because of all these reasons.”
Procrastination is just your crutch. You’re using it to keep it safe. We know how to work under pressure. We really, really do. When we work under pressure, we are giving ourselves an adrenaline rush of cortisol pumping through our veins, and then we have the unbelievable satisfaction that we got it done. I don’t know if you have this same thing; but if I’ve procrastinated something and then once it’s finished I look back on the task, and I think, “why did I put that off for so long? Why did I leave that to the night before so that I was up all night and exhausted the next day? Why did I turn this into a massive beast that it didn’t need to be?”
Let’s together choose one thing that you’re procrastinating on, and instead of looking at as this massive beast, which is overwhelming, let’s take that task and break it off into tiny, small steps. If we use the example of recording this podcast, the very first thing I had to do was plug in my microphone. And I did. The next thing I did was shut my door so that it was quiet. Next thing I did, I just got quiet for a second. I gave myself full permission not to use this podcast. I can dump it. We don’t have to get it out. I removed all the pressure. Then I just started talking.
Those were the small steps that it took to get the podcast out. From there, I hand it over to Eloisa – she takes care of the editing and marketing. Colleen, my virtual assistant, gets it out into your hands so that you see it. It’s an amazing machine once I do my bit but what’s interesting is how we often become the bottleneck. You know, other ways to work around the content is to share other people’s content. At some point, we have to step into our own genius and share what it is that we know.
Another crutch that goes in parallel with procrastination is perfectionism. We also use that as a crutch, to keep ourselves safe and protected from the results of what’s in front of us. If you have a course that’s not out there yet, because it just isn’t quite perfect, or if your email often isn’t quite perfect, or if you know you need to have a phone conversation, but things are not quite in alignment or all your ducks are not in a row. You can be waiting a really, really long time for that last duck to get into the row. It’s going to take its time, it will probably never get in a row exactly to the point that it feels safe for us to move forward.
Perfectionism is a way for us to put off doing something. It’s just the excuse that we rely on. Are you going to be putting out junk? Heck no, absolutely not! But if you’re sitting on a piece of gold that you’re choosing not to share because you want to have it perfect, I am going to lay it down here, right now, my friends, and I’m going to double-dog dare you to do one thing that is sitting and waiting for it to become perfect and get it out just as it is. It’s very easy for us to stay in the status quo. It’s very easy for us to stay in a situation or circumstance that we’re in. We look for every excuse to keep things easy and not tricky.
We don’t like pushing ourselves because we have that whole self-talk of what if, what if this goes awry? What if something goes wrong? What if somebody says something what if somebody thinks that way, but at the end of the day, this is just you keeping you safe. If you’re looking to grow your business, you’re going to have to put yourself out there. We’ve got to put ourselves out there knowing that along the way, we’re going to have some failures. It fascinates me how many people respond to that? Well, what happens if you don’t meet your goal? They’re like, “Oh, my God, that’s like the worst. If I don’t meet my goal, I’m going to beat myself up forever.” That’s just not acceptable. Failure is not acceptable in my life.
The thing is, some things that you’re going to do this year are going to work. Some things that you do this year will be a massive failure by all accounts. But folks, if we’re going to grow, we have to experience the failure and be okay with it. We don’t have a choice because failure is how you learn. It’s okay if you do a marketing campaign and it flops, it doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. It just means that there’s something in the marketing and the sale system that didn’t work. It has zero impact on your worthiness. It is simply a reflection of a system breakdown. That’s it. So if we acknowledge the perfectionism that’s holding us stuck, and we acknowledge the procrastination that we’re using as a tool to keep us safe, where are you willing to fail this year? What can you be putting out that you’ll be okay? If it doesn’t work? Hint: it’s going to span the whole spectrum of your business. Not everything you do this year will hit it. Not everything will hit on the mark. But if you don’t do it, I guarantee you, it’s not going to hit at all.
Here we are, we’re coming to the end of this episode. It’s short and sweet and to the point. It’s something I’ve been procrastinating on for weeks and weeks on the end. As I’m sitting here, I’m thinking, why did I keep this and hold this off for so long? Why did I wait until the very last possible minute to record this? It wasn’t so bad. I actually had something to say about it. So there it is, folks, I was just trying to stay safe. I wanted to shield myself from any negative feedback.
This episode is either going to hit it for you, or it’s going to be a mess. That’s up to you. That’s not on me. My job is to share what I see and call it the way that I see it. So, I am looking at the parallels and I see how there’s parallels between what my clients are saying and what I’m actually doing. I’m going to break the cycle here. I’m putting out this podcast, no matter what actually.
If you’re sitting there with something standing in your way of sharing your genius and helping someone else then just go for it. I’m just going to make it safe for you. It’s okay if it’s not perfect. It’s okay if it’s not super polished. Just do it. I’ll see you on the next steps.
Resources From This Episode
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